Effects of selenium on animal health
Żarczyńska K., Sobiech P., Radwińska J., Rękawek W.
Selenium is an essential trace element in the diet of humans and domesticated animals. It is a component of more than 30 selenoproteins, which play a significant role in the body. Selenoproteins protect cells from damage inflicted by free radicals, the cause of many chronic diseases. They also participate in the metabolism of thyroid hormones, control reproductive functions and exert neuroprotective effects. In addition to its anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory properties, selenium stimulates the immune system. The role of selenium is aided by vitamin E and sulfur-containing amino acids. Selenium deficiency contributes to pathological changes in farm animals, which incur large financial losses each year. Low selenium levels can lead to the development of nutritional muscular dystrophy, also known as white muscle disease, in lambs, kids, foals, calves and poultry from birth to 3 months of age. Selenium deficiency may also cause exudative diathesis in poultry as well as dietary necrotic liver degeneration and mulberry heart disease in pigs. Parturition problems resulting from reduced tension of the muscular layer of the uterus, postparturient paraplegia, placental retention and purulent inflammations of the uterine lining are also attributed to low selenium levels. Selenium deficiency contributes to the formation of ovarian cysts and increased embryonic mortality in the first 3-4 weeks after insemination. Selenium and vitamin E facilitate neutrophil migration to the mammary gland, and they enhance the bactericidal effects of neutrophils, thus shortening and alleviating the symptoms of clinical mastitis. Selenium poisoning is rarely encountered, and it most often results from an overdose of selenium supplements. The most common forms of selenosis are chronic selenosis, referred to as alkali disease, and acute selenosis, popularly known as blind staggers.
Żarczyńska K., Sobiech P., Radwińska J., Rękawek W. 2013. Effects of selenium on animal health. J. Elem. 18(2): 329 - 340; DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2013.18.2.12.
selenium deficiency, selenoproteins, animals